Some notes on Armenian catenas

Medieval commentaries (=catenas) on the bible were composed out of chains of quotations from earlier writers, with each verse of the bible having a chain of comments.  The Greek catenas have been classified by Karo and Lietzmann, but I have often wondered about Armenian catenas.

Robert W. Thomson refers to “the first Armenian catena of patristic quotations” from the 7th century as containing several excerpts from Gregory the Illuminator, as might be expected of the founder of Armenian Christianity.1

 There is a reference to an Armenian catena on Acts in an encyclopedia,2 which may have been printed in Venice in 1839.3  There are Armenian catena fragments of Irenaeus, it seems, one of which indicates that it comes from a lost work, On the Lord’s Resurrection.4  I learn that Yovhannes Vanakan (1181-1251), a monk of the Armenian monastery of Getik, compiled an Armenian catena, preserved in more than 50 codices, under influence from Greek models.5

And that is all that I could find in a search online.  We really need a scholarly survey of what exists, I suspect.

1. Robert W. Thomson, Agathangelo’s History of the Armenians, (1974), p.lxxvii.
2. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D, article on Acts, (1995)  p.33.
3.  Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 1 (1909), p.215.
4. ANF frags. 53 and 54 (=Harvey, Sancti Irenaei, fr. 30 and 31).  Via here.
5. A. Berardino, Patrology, (2008) p.637.


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